Will a Praying Mantis Eat a Hummingbird?

Watch your feeders and flowers for a surprising hummingbird predator. Find out how to protect your hummingbirds from a praying mantis.

Do Praying Mantises Kill Hummingbirds?

hummingbird praying mantisCourtesy Steve Ricketts
Hummingbirds need to be cautious around a praying mantis

“I’ve removed a praying mantis from my hummingbird feeder several times and even trimmed the plants away from the feeder, but the insect keeps coming back. What can I do to keep it away?,” asks Terry Hathcock of Millington, Tennessee.

A large mantis is fully capable of catching and eating hummingbirds, so this is a serious issue. Once an individual mantis develops a fixation on your feeder, it may come back repeatedly to try to nab a hummingbird. You could catch the mantis and take it away—for example, drive to some natural habitat a few miles away and release it there. If that seems like too much effort and you don’t want to use lethal methods, it’s best to take the feeder down for a few days and let the mantis find a different hunting spot.

Check out frequently asked questions about feeding hummingbirds.

praying mantis on hummingbird feederCourtesy Janice Bogott
Praying mantis on a hummingbird feeder

“When the hummingbirds came to feed, this praying mantis reared up and scared the birds away. Why?” asks Janice Bogott of Germantown, Tennessee.

Praying mantises do a lot of exploring, and they sometimes wind up perched on hummingbird feeders. Mantises are predators, mostly feeding on smaller insects, and they may catch bees or other bugs attracted to the feeders. However, large mantises have been known to catch and even kill hummingbirds. The mantis in your photo might not have been big enough to capture a ruby-throated hummingbird, but to be on the safe side, if we find a mantis lurking near one of our feeders, we take it to another spot.

Do praying mantis sightings have meaning?

praying mantis hummingbirdCourtesy Michele Carter
A praying mantis sits under a flower as a hummingbird hovers nearby

“I thought it was strange that this hummingbird kept circling this flower but never landed. Then I noticed the praying mantis hiding beneath the bloom. I quickly (and safely) moved the mantis to another location so the hummingbird could land on the flower without fear,” says Michele Carter of Newport, North Carolina.

Next, check out 7 natural ways to keep bees and wasps away from hummingbird feeders.

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard. Fascinated with the natural world since the age of 6, Kenn has traveled to observe birds on all seven continents, and has authored or coauthored 14 books about birds and nature, including include seven titles in his own series, Kaufman Field Guides, designed to encourage beginners by making the first steps in nature study as easy as possible. His next book, The Birds That Audubon Missed, is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2024. Kenn is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, and has received the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement award twice. Kimberly is the Executive Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) in northwest Ohio. She became the Education Director in 2005 and Executive Director in 2009. As the Education Director, Kimberly played a key role in building BSBO’s school programs, as well as the highly successful Ohio Young Birders Club, a group for teenagers that has served as a model for youth birding programs. Kimberly is also the co-founder of The Biggest Week In American Birding, the largest birding festival in the U.S. Under Kimberly’s leadership, BSBO developed a birding tourism season in northwest Ohio that brings an annual economic impact of more than $40 million to the local economy. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms Magazine, and coauthor of the Kaufman Field Guides to Nature of New England and Nature of the Midwest. Accolades to her credit include the Chandler Robbins Award, given by the American Birding Association to an individual who has made significant contributions to education and/or bird conservation. In 2017, she received a prestigious Milestone Award from the Toledo Area YWCA. Kimberly serves on the boards of Shores and Islands Ohio and the American Bird Conservancy.